Fewer people smoking

December 12th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Martin Johnston at NZ Herald reports:

About 70,000 fewer adults smoke tobacco daily now than three years ago, the latest official survey has found. …

However, a preview snippet of the results, already published on the ministry’s website, says the provisional data indicates that about 17 per cent of people aged 15 or older are daily smokers. That equates to about 600,000 people.

The prevalence was more than one-tenth lower than in 2009, when the ministry found that 19 per cent of adults smoked daily.

Tobacco control and public health advocates have hailed the reduction as a vindication of the Government’s efforts to cut .

It is good news. Almost everyone who smokes, would like to give up – but they are addicted.

The focus should continue to be on policies that actually work at reducing smoking.

Smoking rates

Prevalence of daily tobacco smoking among people aged 15 or older:

23 per cent 2002/03
19 per cent 2006/07
17 per cent 2011/12

The breakdown by gender and ethnicity is interesting. In 2008, the prevalance rates were:

  • European women 21%
  • Maori women 49%
  • Asian women 5%

Also ironically, those who can least afford to smoke, are more likely to smoke. Those in the bottom quintile for deprivation were 2.7 times more likely to smoke than the top quintile.

The average number of cigarettes smoked appears to be 5,000 a year for a smoker, which is 200 packs of 25 a year. At $15 a pack, that is $3,000 a year – to help kill yourself.

Tags:

29 Responses to “Fewer people smoking”

  1. Andrei (2,653 comments) says:

    Almost everyone who smokes, would like to give up

    Wrong. Smoking is a humble pleasure for many, it just that middle class ninnies hate it, usually because they hate capitalism and seek to wack any successful business enterprise, and “public health” is a good excuse.

    Also ironically, those who can least afford to smoke, are more likely to smoke

    Yes it is a pleasure that the poor need to have denied them. After all the elites being arseholes can use their power to bully the poor into complying with their “morality” and one of the worst sins to the middle classes is smoking tobacco.

    Of course smoking could be a cheap pleasure for the poor the excise duty on tobacco is designed to make it unaffordable for them.

    Of course the tobacco “control” measures are just a prototype for other “control” measure so that big government types can control everything we eat and drink.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. gump (1,685 comments) says:

    I don’t smoke, but I understand why people do smoke.

    They do it because smoking is a singularly pleasurable activity.

    I forget who said it first, but for smokers there are very many times in life when a cigarette is more than just another cigarette.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Manolo (14,179 comments) says:

    Nanny state will always know what is better for you and your family.
    Don’t you dare to contradict the opinion of do-gooders, political elites, commissars, and spin doctors.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. RRM (10,104 comments) says:

    My nightmare is that during my lifetime society will decide drinking espresso coffee is disgusting and anti-social, and something only an utter pariah would do.
    So that when I am an old man, the only people still drinking it will be disgusting old men like myself, and we will be forced to do it out the back of the bar in the “coffee area” by the dumpster, along with all the other coffee-drinking lepers.

    Almost everyone who smokes, would like to give up.

    Since they banned it in bars, I must say I do enjoy the occasional smell of someone else’s cigarette a lot more than I used to, back in the bad old days when it was everywhere all the time :-)

    I have a tradition of smoking one cigarette a year. At work’s xmas lunch / bender. Which I bum off our receptionist, who is an older lady who smokes some quite amazing smokes that are not at all like your ordinary shitty Winfield Red or what have you.

    I wouldn’t get into smoking regularly (it seems like such an expensive way of killing yourself slowly) but I can certainly appreciate why people do it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    Also ironically, those who can least afford to smoke, are more likely to smoke. Those in the bottom quintile for deprivation were 2.7 times more likely to smoke than the top quintile.

    And yet the answer is still seen as increasing tax. If those least able to afford smoking are more likely to do so, then just who do they think are suffering as a result of increase tobacco tax?

    (Hint: Not the smokers.)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Manolo (14,179 comments) says:

    Reagan on the state: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
    Labour lite concentrates on the first two, Labour on all three.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Pete George (23,832 comments) says:

    It will be better soon, Shearer is going to lead a more hands on government.

    One of their priorities will be getting more hands on with tax.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. wreck1080 (4,001 comments) says:

    Legalise marijuana and demonise it like tobacco. It works for tobacco, why not marijuana?

    What about maori women smoke at the expense of feeding their children? The bleeding hearts complain about children going to school hungry but do they complain about the parents who spend their spare cash on booze and ciggies (the 2 go hand in hand)?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. dime (10,221 comments) says:

    funny how the left scream blue murder when the price of power goes up because the poor cant afford.. then celebrate when they jack the price of smokes.

    the things should cost $5 a pack

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. alwyn (440 comments) says:

    RRM @ 2.46pm.
    You do have some awful nightmares. Ban coffee! No, no they cannot.
    As far as tobacco goes any primary school child today would probably tell you were addicted and that you are nothing but a dirty old man. Even one cigarette is to much for the nico-nazis I fear.
    Personally I don’t smoke cigarettes (preen, preen). I am a follower of Rudyard Kipling and the line in his poem The Betrothed,
    which goes “and a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke”.
    I dread the day, and it is probably not far away, when there will be a ban on duty free tobacco and the fifty I bring in on each trip will go up about four-fold in price.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Andrei (2,653 comments) says:

    Who really profits from tobacco?

    Park Drive Tobacco 50 grams retail price – $53.50
    GST componant – $6.98
    Excise duty – $31.50
    Total Government take – $38.48
    What is left over for the growers, producers, distributors, and retailers, who do all the work, to pay their costs and feed their families with – $15.02

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Ed Snack (1,941 comments) says:

    And when they eliminate smoking, where will they turn for all the income from the excise taxes that will disappear ? Hint, look in a mirror.

    As sad as it is, smokers subsidize the rest of us as their contribution in tax for their habit plus the foregone superannuation from on average an earlier death outweighs the monetary cost of the extra health care they incur. A tax on the next “filthy habit” is likely, if not coffee or alcohol, why not something really nasty and challenging to the left, like, say, heterosexual marriage with, gasp, children ! Or maybe they can tax free speech, or private health care, private schools maybe ? Lots of opportunity to polarize and personalize the things you hate others doing (but should be allowed for the elite minority who need to run and direct society for its own best interests).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Dirty Rat (383 comments) says:

    Came back from Rarotonga, 250grams of tobacco (for a friend) was $40, a two litre of Jim Beam was $20.

    I’m with Dime on this

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. SPC (5,669 comments) says:

    It would appear that the tax on tobacco is easier to increase the fewer who smoke.

    That for Treasury happily results in the tax take remaining constant despite the decline in numbers smoking.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. kowtow (8,945 comments) says:

    Once upon a time smoking was a “habit”. Now it’s an addiction. Everything seems to being medicalised,to be treated,exterminated,legislated.
    Oh dear.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Almost everyone who smokes, would like to give up – but they are addicted.

    Oh dear, let the massive generalisations begin.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. SPC (5,669 comments) says:

    My own preference would be to restrict public sale of tobacco (given the users are addicted to nicotine) to chemists and by prescription to registered addicts only.

    The addicts would have to use nicotine patches and be supplied via ration cards. No one under 18 at the time these were brought in would ever be issued one.

    As this would conclude the war on tobacco addiction – and as the ration cards would replace price as a level of use constraint, I would reduce the tax on tobacco. This would minimise the impact of use on the dependent children of those on limited incomes.

    PS That allows th Dutch option of tourist cafes where they can buy tobacco.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. wat dabney (3,849 comments) says:

    The bleeding hearts complain about children going to school hungry but do they complain about the parents who spend their spare cash on booze and ciggies (the 2 go hand in hand)?

    So slash the tax on cigarettes then.

    Problem solved.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. SPC (5,669 comments) says:

    wat, one option is to have two supply systems.

    Those who pay the tobacco tax in full, have an unlimited right to buy – needing an ID card to do so.

    Those who buy on a ration card (lower income folk with dependent children), pay a lesser price.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Ancient Dan (47 comments) says:

    I am with Dime on this as well.

    And thanks alwyn for sourcing the “a woman is only a woman” etc, always thought it was Mark Twain

    Anyway what gets me is the nastiness of the anti smooking lobbies who spend taxpayer millions gloating over the induced poverty of poor smokers, as if they did not have enough difficulties in their lives.

    It is an unholy alliance between tax hungary politicians and the tax grabbing clerisy.

    A sounder approach in my view if the politicians were not so wedded to the revenue would be to do as was done for the tuberculosis problem in the early 1900’s.

    Right up to the early seventies there used to be mobile X ray units touring the country doing chest X rays to diagnose and cure the problem. Understand they solved the problem

    Get the vans out, X rays and all, stock them up with tablets, nicotine patches and spend the tax payers money on trying to cure the afflicted.

    Them that do not want nor can benefit from the offer of a cure leave them tjheir paltry dole and pension to spend on food clothing and shelter.

    But spare us the taxation theivery and the heartless false concern of the zealots at the trough.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. wat dabney (3,849 comments) says:

    SPC,

    No. No ID cards. No rationing by the state. Just slash taxes.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Steve (North Shore) (4,537 comments) says:

    I quit after smoking for more than 40 years. Nicotine inhibits bone healing, in my case neck vertabrae fusion. I do not miss it, and do not mind the smell of smoke around me.
    To all of you smokers, do not give up. If all smokers quit then I would end up paying more Tax one way or the other. The Govt will just find another way if the cigarette tax goes

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Left Right and Centre (3,014 comments) says:

    I’ve never smoked but I sure miss the aroma in the clubs. Lots of disgusting smelling louts are far far far worse than the smoke smell. I’d take the smoke every time… used to cover every human body smell nicely.

    I’ve seen someone somewhere saying that smoking has become uncool or unpopular and there’s been a shift in attitude over the last 10-20 years. I would largely agree with that… *BUT*… having worked as a truck driver I could be working amongst a niche section of society and the % of people who smoked and the smoking culture was and is very much alive and kicking and going strong thank you very much.

    Within niche social groups…. smoking retains more of the old-fashioned status quo attitude and appeal. It self-perpetuates in small enclaves. Anti-smoking message is ignored by small cultural groups with majorities of smokers.

    Such is the prevalence, depending on the exact workplace, that on a number of occasions it’s been simply assumed that I will be a fellow smoker. And it can feel like being an alien from another planet if you’re not in the ‘club’.

    I thought that the official line was that the excise tax is merely to discourage people from wanting to start or continue a habit that can cause cancer etc that can be life-shortening and cause poor health. If that is true, then the lawmakers are hoping to reduce the tax they collect from the sale of tobacco to zero and they’d call that a win. Officially it’s not merely to boost the coffers surely. If you get a speeding ticket… a $5 infringement notice is hardly likely to put you off speeding. At $1 000 for doing 60 in a 50 would be revenue gathering for sure. $80-150… well… it’s going to be around there, isn’t it? Surely it’s the social objective they want to achieve, not a cynical economic one. Healthy skepticism is good, but if that deteriorates into closed-minded paranoid conspiracy thinking there is grave potential for misjudgment and error.

    I think with smoking I would want people to have the option of taking personal responsibility. If people want to give up or cut back, they should give up because they want to, not because the cost becomes unfairly prohibitive, imposed upon those who choose to smoke. Once they’ve covered their share of the potential additional health system costs, I say leave them alone. Let them choose for themselves. It’s a short life for a smoker or a non-smoker, whether you get a birthday card from the Queen or not. I like the line ‘I’m here for a good time, not a long time’.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. SPC (5,669 comments) says:

    L, R and C

    Yes the tax rate is now punitive – to deter use, rather than to cover health costs. This is express Maori Party policy.

    As to fairness, and the poor Maori women with child dependents (most likely to smoke) bearing the cost burden – this is what the Maori Party want.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. calendar girl (1,259 comments) says:

    Our host has received what to him may be an unexpectedly unenthusiastic response to his post. In their comments, readers have demonstrated commendable antipathy towards “nanny state” politics, including punitive taxation strategies.

    Kowtow identifies correctly the fallacy that politicians and those opposed to smoking have come to postulate – that what was once a “habit” must now be depicted as an “addiction” in order to justify external (i.e. state) intervention and disproportionate taxation. Without any attempt to define a direct physiological dependency that would warrant the “addiction” tag.

    Simple control and manipulation of language. Along with excessive taxation, the most constant ingredient of “big government”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Jim (358 comments) says:

    So slash the tax on cigarettes then.

    Problem solved.

    Subsidise smokers? (tax cut == subsidy, if you have been paying attention)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Libero (2 comments) says:

    I’m sure a whole bunch of people would be interested to know where they can get a pack of 25s for $15… that’s cheap for 20s!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. hinamanu (1,068 comments) says:

    Once smoking and alcohol have been banned coffee will be next . A huge industry and employment sector the socialists don’t want …on both sides of the house .

    Remember how parliament vilified Barry Smith in the 90’s. Everything he said came true

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Steve (North Shore) (4,537 comments) says:

    @ hinamanu
    Coffee sucks, it is overated and just trendy.
    Tea is the best, just plain tea, no additives

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote